Here Is What's New In Android O

Google releases a new version of Android every year. Each iteration of Android improves upon it's predecessor through the means of new features and bug fixes. Google had taken the wraps off Android O just a few hours ago. As compared to Nougat, a lot of new features have been added to Android O. Let's get started and find out what all has changed.

Power Management aka Battery Life

If there is one thing that pesters Android owners in unity, then it has to be battery life. I am yet to come across a person who says that the battery life on his/her Android device is great. To address this daunting issue, Google had introduced Doze in Marshmallow. Doze puts your device into a low powered deep-sleep state when you are not using your Android device or if it is idle. The problem with Doze in Marshmallow was that it would kick in only when your device had been left stationary for at least 30 minutes. This means that if I'm walking with my Android device in my pant's pocket, Doze won't stop the battery drainage, because my device isn't stationary. Improving upon this, Google had introduced Doze On The Go in Nougat last year. If your device is powered by Nougat, your phone will be put in deep sleep within a matter of minutes after it is left idle.

With Android O, Google has focused on three primary aspects: implicit broadcasts, background services, and location updates. Thus, Android O will restrict the background activity of apps through various intelligent algorithms and at the same time there will be changes to how frequently an app can request for your location. Since the number of background services and location updates have been reduced, there will be lesser stress on the battery. Theoretically, this should improve Android's battery life. How much does the battery life get improved, only time will tell that.


Talking about the changes introduced in the way Android O will handle notifications, Google's Dave Burke wrote:

Android O also introduces notification channels, which are new app-defined categories for notification content. Channels let developers give users fine-grained control over different kinds of notifications — users can block or change the behavior of each channel individually, rather than managing all of the app's notifications together.

To break this down into simpler terms, Android O will have grouped notifications. As shown in the screenshot above, News Digest has a notification which reads - "Google announces dates for I/O." Google I/O is Google's annual conference for developers where Google describes the products & services it has been working on and how developers can work on the platforms being developed by Google. If one were asked to categorize Google I/O, one would definitely classify it under the 'technology' header. That's what Android O will be having - grouped notifications classified in various categories. It appears as if Google will allow you to select which categories of notifications should pave their way into the notification shade and be visible to you. The options for customising these categories should be included in Android's settings menu itself. So, if News Digest has news of different categories, say Entertainment, Politics & Technology, then I will be able to choose notifications of which category should be made visible in the notification panel of my device. If I want notifications of events only related to technology to be shown, only tech related notifications will be shown.

Another great add-on to the notification system is the snooze feature. So, if you wish to be reminded of a notification later on, you will be able to snooze it for sometime later. 

Autofill APIs, Keyboard Navigation & Bluetooth Audio Codecs

Android O has finally introduced native support for auto-filling of sensitive information like passwords. 

Autofill APIs: Android users already depend on a range of password managers to autofill login details and repetitive information, which makes setting up new apps or placing transactions easier. Now we are making this work more easily across the ecosystem by adding platform support for autofill. Users can select an autofill app, similar to the way they select a keyboard app. The autofill app stores and secures user data, such as addresses, user names, and even passwords. For apps that want to handle autofill, we're adding new APIs to implement an Autofill service. 

We thus can rely upon popular password managers like LastPass to fill in stuff for us wherever required. Even though there might be a bunch of Android users out there who would be bewildered with the very thought of storing their passwords in an external source (except their mind), there is a group of users who like to use password managers so that they don't have to remember their passwords themselves.

Google has also mentioned that arrow and tab navigation in Android O will improve the way we use our keyboards. This is still vague and it remains unclear as to how keyboard navigation will be improved upon.

Android O supports high quality Bluetooth audio codecs & Sony's LDAC codecs . These will improve the audio quality of the sound output from wireless headphones and Bluetooth speakers. AAudio API for Pro Audio will help in delivering better low latency audio.

Miscellaneous Stuff

We are done with the major changes. We have summarized the remaining few minor optimizations in the form of a bullet list for you:

  • Inclusion of new Java 8 APIs and runtime optimizations will improve application performance and benchmarks
  • Network Aware Networking will allow nearby Android devices to communicate with each other, even though they may not be connected to the same WiFi network. This appears to be a new communication means of some sort.
  • Apps will now be able to use the fonts of their choices. Apps need not stick with the fonts Android supplies them with. App developers can ship their apps with fonts of their choice and Android O will look after displaying them properly.
  • Picture in Pictire (PIP) mode: PIP was only available for Android TVs before Android O. Android O brings PIP to both smartphones as well as tablets, "so users can continue watching a video while they're answering a chat or hailing a car."
  • Adaptive icons will allow apps to create their own icons based on the device UI

That's it folks! That wraps up our summary of the new features introduced in Android O. Do you like these features? Is there anything you would like to see in Android O? Let us know in the comments section below!

Krittin Kalra
Krittin Kalra is a 20 year old Android freak. Striving for passions, chasing down his dreams and living a life without regrets is his sole mantra. A bit moody, he also does custom ROM reviews for AndroGuider. Currently pursuing his B.Tech, he aspires to follow his heart.
Here Is What's New In Android O Here Is What's New In Android O Reviewed by Krittin Kalra on 3/22/2017 02:04:00 AM
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